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Majority PAC

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Majority PAC is a Democratic party Super PAC created in 2010 for the express purpose of maintaining Democratic control of the U.S. Senate. It was created by Jim Jordan, a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Monica Dixon, a former aide to Al Gore. [1] Several of MajorityPAC's senior officers, including their top strategic advisers Rebecca Lambe and Susan McCue, have ties to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Majority PAC also has close ties to the 501(c)(4)s Patriot Majority and Patriot Majority USA: Craig Varoga, who runs Patriot Majority, is a senior officer of Majority PAC. [2] Varoga is a former communications director for Harry Reid. [3] Majority PAC was a major force in the 2012 election cycle, spending $34 million to influence Senate Races across the country, making them one of the largest Democratic groups not directly affiliated with a single campaign. [4] As of December 31, 2012, Majority PAC has $178,979.56 cash on hand for the next election cycle.[5]

Influencing the 2012 Election

In the 2012 election cycle, Majority PAC spent a total of $37,498,257. Of this total, $3,651,229 was spent for Democrats and $33,847,028 against Republicans.[6]

Majority PAC ran ads exclusively targeting close Senate Races. Majority PAC's biggest targets in the 2012 election cycle were Republican candidates in Ohio, North Dakota, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin. The sections below detail Majority PAC's involvement in key senate races in the 2012 election, along with examples of ads they have aired against candidates in those races. At the end of each section, a short summary lists every major ad buy the group made in that particular race.

Arizona Senate Race

"The Difference"

Majority PAC spent $2 million in Arizona attacking Jeff Flake, [7] the Republican nominee for Senate, who ultimately won despite Majority PAC's efforts. Several of Majority PAC's ads targeted Flake for his close ties to the uranium mining industry, these ads were produced in conjunction with the League of Conservation Voters [1]

Connecticut Senate Race

"Pink"

In Connecticut, Majority PAC spent $2.5 million to defeat Republican Linda McMahon.

  • Cards: September 24th, 2012: $501,000 [8]
  • Sunset: October 5th, 2012: $397,650 [9]
  • Pink: October 22nd, 2012: $1,000,000 [10]

Florida Senate Race

"Tiger Blood"

Majority PAC's ads in Florida attempted to portray Republican candidate Connie Mack as an out-of-control party boy, in one ad, claiming that his fellow Republicans once called him "the Charlie Sheen of Florida Politics."[8] The ad discussed a 20-year old incident in which Mack was charged with resisting arrest, though the charge did not result in a criminal record. [9] In total, Majority PAC spent $958,000 attacking Connie Mack in Florida [10]

Indiana Senate Race

"Inflict"

Majority PAC spent $4.48 million in Indiana, most of the money went into attacking Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Richard Mourdock. [11]


Missouri Senate Race

"Believes"

Majority PAC's ads in Missouri promoted Democratic incumbent Clair McCaskill's economic record, and attacked her opponent, Todd Akin, for comments he made about rape and abortion shortly after the Republican Senatorial Primary. In total, MajorityPAC spent $3 million attacking Akin or supporting McCaskill. [12] Majority PAC was also active in Missouri's U.S. Senate primary, where they ran ads against John Brunner, a leading Republican Candidate.

Montana Senate Race

"Rigged"

Majority PAC spent $3 million in Montana attacking Republican nominee Dennis Rehberg. [13] Majority PAC partnered with the Service Employees International Union to produce several of the ads.

Nevada Senate Race

"Cindy"

Majority PAC spent $1 million influencing the Nevada senate race. All their money went in to attacking Dean Heller, the Republican nominee, who eventually won despite Majority PAC's efforts. [14]

North Dakota Senate Race

"Character"

Majority PAC spent $3.2 million in North Dakota attacking Republican nominee for US Senate Rick Berg, or supporting his opponent, Democratic Nominee Heidi Heitkamp. [15]

Ohio Senate Race

"No. 1 Job"

Majority PAC's ads in Ohio targeted Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, who was running to unseat incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. Majority PAC's ads attacked Mandel for his short term of office (he served less than a year as the State Treasurer before running for Senate) and his right-wing economic agenda. Majority PAC spent $3 million opposing Josh Mandel in Ohio. [16]

Pennsylvania Senate Race

"Education"

Majority PAC only ran one ad in the Pennsylvania Senate race, on the subject of education. The ad branded Republican Senatorial Candidate Tom Smith as "Tea Party Tom Smith" and bolstered his opponent, Democratic candidate Bob Casey. Unlike most of Majority PAC's ads, this ad mentions both candidates.

Virginia Senate Race

"Worked For Them"

In Virginia, Majority PAC spent $6 million opposing Republican U.S. Senate Candidate George Allen, or supporting Democratic Incumbent Tim Kaine. [17] Their attacks began in August and continued until the week before the general election.

Wisconsin

"Baby"

Majority PAC's activities in Wisconsin were not limited to general elections: In August, Majority PAC targeted both the frontrunners in the Wisconsin Republican primary for US Senate: former governor Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde. Majority PAC's Wisconsin primary ads attacked Thompson for being a pro-corporate lobbyists, and purportedly supporting the interest of large chemical and pharmaceutical companies. [18] After Thompson won the Republican primary, Majority PAC continued their attack. Majority PAC partnered with the Service Employees International Union to produce some of its ads, including one targeting Thompson for cutting corporate taxes at the expense of the middle class. [19] In total, Majority PAC spent $4.89 million influencing the Wisconsin Senate elections [20]

Funding

As a Political Action Committee, Majority PAC is required to disclose its donors. There is a significant overlap between donors to Majority PAC and donors to Priorities USA, the super PAC formed expressly for the purpose of re-electing Barack Obama in 2012. Majority PAC's donors are some of the largest in the Democratic party, including Media Mogul Fred Eychaner and Hedge Fund billionaire Jamie Simons, who is the largest donor to left-leaning super PACs in the 2012 election cycle[21]. On July 26th, Majority PAC received a million-dollar donation from "Working for Working Americans," a Las Vegas-Based political action committee affiliated with several national construction unions. [22]

References

  1. Factcheck.org: Players guide for Majority PAC, Last updated August 1st, 2012
  2. Manu Raju: Senate Dems Launch 'SuperPAC', Politico, February 22nd, 2011
  3. NPR: Who's Who: Key Leaders of Independent Groups, September 8th, 2008
  4. Opensecrets.org: Majority PAC Outside Spending, Accessed January 1st, 2012
  5. Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, Senate Majority PAC, 2014 Cycle, accessed May 2013
  6. Opensecrets.org: Organization profile for: Majority PAC, Summary, accessed May 2013
  7. Opensecrets.org: Outside Spending Report for Arizona, Accessed January 6th, 2013
  8. Alexander Burns: Mack Equals Charlie Sheen, Politico, August 24th, 2012
  9. Factcheck.Org: Winning? Super PAC Compares Republican to Charlie Sheen Winning? Super PAC Compares Republican to Charlie Sheen, August 27th, 2012
  10. Opensecrets.org: Outside Spending Report for Florida, Accessed January 5th, 2013
  11. Opensecrets.org: Outside Spending Report for Indiana, Accessed January 6th, 2013
  12. Opensecrets.org: Outside Spending Report for Missouri, Accessed January 5th, 2013
  13. Opensecrets.org: Outside Spending Report for Montana, Accessed January 6th, 2013
  14. Opensecrets.org: Outside Spending Report for Nevada, Accessed January 6th, 2013
  15. Opensecrets.org: Outside Spenidng Report for Montana, Accessed January 6th, 2013
  16. Opensecrets.org, outside spending report for Ohio, Accessed January 6th, 2013
  17. Opensecrets: Outside Spending Report for Virginia, Accessed January 6th, 2013
  18. Majority PAC: New Majority PAC ad in Missouri Calls out Brunner's disastrous business record. Accessed October 1st, 2012
  19. Wispolitics: Majority PAC, SIEU rips Thompson over Corporate Ties, Accessed October 1st, 2012
  20. Opensecrets.org: Outside Spending report for Wisconsin, Accessed January 6th, 2013
  21. Donor Profile: James Simons, Center for Public Integrity, Accessed October 1st, 2012
  22. FEC Filings: FEC form 1 for "WORKING FOR WORKING AMERICANS", filed July 30th, 2012